Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The attitude of loneliness (Part 2): I don't fit in, so I won't even try to.

This is part two of a series I started called "The Attitude Of Isolation", I previously wrote about an entitled attitude "People don't make an effort to get to know me", I'll be following this up with a second attitude "I don't fit in, so I won't even try".

Yeah, it's gonna be a long one, best make it a venti!

I'm a nerd.

I know, I know, it's hard to believe, but I am.

In college, I was the only one seemingly fascinated by what I was being taught, in a class full of nerds, I was to those nerds what nerds are to regular people.

University was a very similar experience, I thought I'd escaped the usual high school cliques and banal conversation that was basically its own pidgin English of sports, dull pop culture references and the obsession over who had achieved the most admirable feat regarding alcohol/women/money/whatever.

There were some guys in particular I didn't enjoy spending time with, we didn't have a witty term at the time, but I understand we now call those people "brogrammers". The stereotypical 'bro' who chest bumps and "woos" while clenching fists when an indeterminate team score a goal or point, or whatever it is in the sport that's on the tiny bar TV.

Disclaimer: Not all men are Bros and not all Bros are men.

I was invited out a few times and discovered the opposite to the "brogrammer" the self proclaimed "alpha geek", someone I later discovered achieved this title by learning the dungeons and dragons rulebook backwards, yet after four years had not successfully transitioned into his second year. I'm still not clear how that merit awarded him the title he held...

Everywhere there was an event I might have wanted to go to, the alpha nerd was there, everyone knew him, he was ubiquitous. The mind boggling thing was, most people just accepted this mentality of there being an "alpha nerd" and they'd have to fall into line, and they did! 

It really was like a wolf pack with him snapping at everyone else's necks if something happened in the wider nerd subculture he didn't like. 

Social life became a frustrating exercise of trying to avoid speaking to this guy because if you had a real need to discuss some uni work with someone on the course, he'd sooner or later hijack the conversation and talk about vampire the masquerade for half and hour and invite the person you were talking to away to meet someone new.

I never got the chance to get to know even those that looked like I might have wanted to get to know. I wasn't in the inner circle of the alpha nerd and all those I did share some interests were more concerned with fitting in and being someone else's minion than getting to know anyone outside the circle.

This had a long term effect on me. I gave up, I stopped trying to fit in. I closed myself off and in my final year I barely left the house. I poured myself into study to the point of sickness and that was the worst thing I could have done.

I thought I was protecting myself. In reality I was only teaching myself to not get involved in things I might want to.

I'd already decide before I had went somewhere that I wasn't going to fit in and wasn't going to have fun. So, having assessed that I wasn't going to have fun, was going to be on my own and would feel awkward all evening, I could do that from the comfort of my own home without needing to put shoes on.

The most dangerous part of this attitude is that it creates a prison in your mind and it'll trick you, it'll give you reasons to not do things, reasons to hide away and disengage.

I found ways to justify myself, well reasoned and perfectly logical arguments to others about why I "can't make it" when in reality I just didn't feel like there was a place for me at any given event.

When I see people retreat and close themselves off, I feel a great sense of empathy and if I feel like I want to connect with those people. I understand, I might not know the story, but I understand the feelings.

I always operated by giving to other people but I never allowed others to influence me. It was rather selfish of me and wasn't very healthy. It's taken me the best part of two weeks to get to this tiny little revelation into words and that is:

If I want to fit in around people, I have to take the initiative and create a place in my life for people to fit in.

I really can't place enough emphasis on that statement, so I'll say it again.

If you want to fit in, create room for people in your own life to do life with you and see what happens!

Proverbs 18:1 (English Standard Version) reads:

"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire, he breaks out against all sound judgement."

Well... That's pretty black and white in regards to the matter, it's not easy, in fact it's downright challenging, pretty much like everything in life, but it does show that everything I'm having to learn the hard way is pointing me in the right direction.

Once again I hope that this makes sense and it if not then opps, better luck next time.

This stuff is hard to pour through so I'm going to take the next blog off from this series but I'll be coming back to it, with part three: "I'm a burden, you don't want to know me."

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